Charles Hooper

Thoughts and projects from a site reliability engineer

My Personal Kaizen

Kaizen is Japenese for “good change” or “improvement” and is frequently used within the context of lean manufacturing. Today though, I’m going to talk about a few things I want to improve for myself, both personally and professionally.

Hard Skills

I’m fascinated by new technology and new ways of doing work, so polishing up on some of my so-called “hard skills” comes relatively natural to me. Things like learning a new programming language or a new tool require only time which I’m more than willing and able to invest. Without further ado, here are the hard skills I’d like to improve:

  • Become proficient in Go. I find Go very appealing as a language, specifically for systems-level uses.
  • Become proficient in Ruby. Alot of the software I’m responsible for maintaining at Heroku is written in Ruby.
  • Become proficient in a functional programming language, such as Erlang. I’ve been interested in learning a functional programming language for a while. I decided on Erlang after hearing a talk from Chris Meiklejohn (of Basho) about Riak and watching several talks about Erlang and Erlang/OTP.

Soft Skills

Addressing soft skills is something that’s a little more difficult for me, but something that I think is important. These are the soft skills I’d like to improve:

  • Become better at empathy. Sometimes when listening to someone, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about what they are trying to say or how they came to that point. What I have been working on, however, is understanding why they feel a certain way in particular.
  • Become a better listener. I have been working on this for a while, but one area I would still like to improve is learning to ask the the right questions. I’m always impressed when someone follows up something I said with an engaging question, and I would love to gain that ability.
  • Become more well-spoken. I’d like to be a better public speaker, both publicly and privately.

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